Hamas Delivers Peace Letter to
government in Gaza reached out to President Obama on the
occasion of his visit to the Middle East, announcing that
Hamas was willing to talk to all parties “on the basis of
mutual respect and without preconditions.” CODEPINK
cofounder Medea Benjamin, who carried the letter out from
Gaza, said that the letter represented a significant
development and an effort by Hamas to present a new face to
the Western world. “While Osama bin Laden used the occasion
of President Obama’s visit to deliver a scathing attack,
Hamas reached out to a feminist U.S. peace group to deliver
a letter to Obama urging dialogue, mutual respect and
adherence to international law,” said Medea Benjamin.
In the letter, Hamas urged Obama to visit “our ground Zero”
in Gaza and bring about a “paradigm shift” in the
Israel-Palestine conflict based on enlightened world opinion
and international law.
“This is a people who have just been subjected to a vicious
attack that left over 1,300 dead and thousands wounded, and
there is not a word here about armed resistance or Zionism.
They are reaching out and actively seeking a resolution to
the conflict based on the findings of the world’s leading
international legal bodies and human rights organizations
from the United Nations and the International Court of
Justice to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
This is a major breakthrough and the U.S. government should
take advantage to begin a dialogue with Hamas.”
The letter was signed by Ahmed Yusef, Deputy Foreign
Minister and hand-delivered to Benjamin, who was in Gaza
headed a 66-person delegation representing 10 nations.
Benjamin and representatives of CODEPINK are delivering the
letter to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo today, June 4, during
Obama’s visit to Egypt.
The text of the letter is below.
His Excellency President Barack Obama,
President of the United States of America.
June 3rd 2009
Dear Mr. President,
We welcome your visit to the Arab world and your
administration’s initiative to bridge differences with the
One long-standing source of tension between the United
States and this part of the world has been the failure to
resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.
It is therefore unfortunate that you will not visit Gaza
during your trip to the Middle East and that neither your
Secretary of State nor George Mitchell have come to hear our
point of view.
We have received numerous visits recently from people of
widely varied backgrounds: U.S. Congressional
representatives, European parliamentarians, the
U.N.-appointed Goldstone commission, and grassroots
delegations such as those organized by the U.S. peace group
It is essential for you to visit Gaza. We have recently
passed through a brutal 22-day Israeli attack. Amnesty
International observed that the death and destruction Gaza
suffered during the invasion could not have happened without
U.S.-supplied weapons and U.S.-taxpayers’ money.
Human Rights Watch has documented that the white phosphorus
Israel dropped on a school, hospital, United Nations
warehouse and civilian neighborhoods in Gaza was
manufactured in the United States. Human Rights Watch
concluded that Israel’s use of this white phosphorus was a
Shouldn’t you see first-hand how Israel used your arms and
spent your money?
Before becoming president you were a distinguished professor
of law. The U.S. government has also said that it wants to
foster the rule of law in the Arab-Muslim world.
The International Court of Justice stated in July 2004 that
the whole of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem are
occupied Palestinian territories designated for Palestinian
self-determination, and that the Jewish settlements in the
occupied Palestinian territories are illegal.
Not one of the 15 judges sitting on the highest judicial
body in the world dissented from these principles.
The main human rights organizations in the world, Amnesty
International and Human Rights Watch, have issued position
papers supporting the right of the Palestinian refugees to
return and compensation.
Each year in the United Nations General Assembly nearly
every country in the world has supported these principles
for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict. Every year the
Arab League puts forth a peace proposal based on these
principles for resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Leading human rights organizations such as Human Rights
Watch have also stated that Israel’s siege of Gaza is a form
of collective punishment and therefore illegal under
We in the Hamas Government are committed to pursuing a just
resolution to the conflict not in contradiction with the
international community and enlightened opinion as expressed
in the International Court of Justice, the United Nations
General Assembly, and leading human rights organizations. We
are prepared to engage all parties on the basis of mutual
respect and without preconditions.
However, our constituency needs to see a comprehensive
paradigm shift that not only commences with lifting the
siege on Gaza and halts all settlement building and
expansion but develops into a policy of evenhandedness based
on the very international law and norms we are prodded into
Again, we welcome you to Gaza which would allow you to see
firsthand our ground zero. Furthermore, it would enhance the
US position; enabling you to speak with new credibility and
authority in dealing with all the
Very Truly Yours,
Dr. Ahmed Yousef
Deputy of the Foreign Affairs Ministry
Former Senior Political Advisor
to Prime Minister Ismael Hanniya
Abs.: Dr. Edith Lutz